NEBRASKA CITY, Neb., March 2, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More and more colleges and universities across the United States are being recognized for taking care of one of the most valuable resources on campus – trees. Today, the Arbor Day Foundation announced that the number of schools that have been named a Tree Campus USA college or university has more than tripled since the program began in 2008.
Tree Campus USA, modeled after the Arbor Day Foundation's successful Tree City USA program, is supported by a generous grant from Toyota. The aim of Tree Campus USA is to honor colleges and universities that use sustainable practices and engage students in tree-planting and conservation initiatives.
This year, 114 U.S. colleges and universities earned Tree Campus USA status, 40 more than were honored a year ago. There were 29 schools in the inaugural class of Tree Campus USA in 2008.
Major universities, small private colleges and schools of all sizes in between were recognized with Tree Campus USA distinction. Among the schools that were honored this year include the University of Michigan, Duke University, Hennepin Technical College, Cornell University, the University of Pennsylvania, Arizona State, Georgia Tech and St. Bonaventure University. To see a complete list of Tree Campus USA colleges and universities, go to www.arborday.org/TreeCampusUSA.
"As Tree Campus USA continues to grow, communities all over the country will benefit from vibrant, healthy urban forests on college campuses," said John Rosenow, chief executive and founder of the Arbor Day Foundation. "The work being done to plant, protect and care for the trees on these campuses will have a lasting effect on their cities and towns for years and years. Trees are a valuable resource, and planted and managed properly can clean our air, help us reduce energy usage and add breath-taking beauty to some of the most beautiful places in our communities."
To earn Tree Campus USA recognition, schools must meet five core standards of tree care and community engagement: Establish a campus tree advisory committee; evidence of a campus tree-care plan; verification of dedicated annual expenditures on the campus tree-care plan; involvement in an Arbor Day observance; and a service-learning project aimed at engaging the student body in sustainable efforts.
"Toyota has been a proud partner of the Arbor Day Foundation since 2001," said Patricia Pineda, group vice president of Toyota Motor North America. "We are thrilled to be involved in efforts that educate and mobilize the next generation of environmental stewards."
The Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota launched the Tree Campus USA program in the fall of 2008 by planting nearly 1,000 trees at nine college campuses throughout the nation. Since then, Arbor Day and Toyota have held additional tree planting events at designated schools each fall and spring for a total of 29 of events to date.
More information about Tree Campus USA is available at www.arborday.org/TreeCampusUSA.
About the Arbor Day Foundation: The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit conservation organization of more than one million members, with a mission to inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees. More information on the Foundation and its programs can be found at arborday.org.
Toyota (NYSE: TM) established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently operates 10 manufacturing plants, including one under construction. Toyota directly employs nearly 30,000 in the U.S. and its investment here is currently valued at more than $18 billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development, financial services and design.
Toyota is committed to being a good corporate citizen in the communities where it does business and believes in supporting programs with long-term sustainable results. Toyota supports numerous organizations across the country, focusing on education, the environment and safety. Since 1991, Toyota has contributed more than $500 million to philanthropic programs in the U.S.
For more information on Toyota's commitment to improving communities nationwide, visit http://www.toyota.com/community.
SOURCE Arbor Day Foundation